The Boston Bruins are perhaps the team that will be the most negatively impacted as a result of the sudden and unexpected stoppage in the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season. The Bruins were the league's top team prior to the stoppage and in fact played a red hot Philadelphia Flyers team in their final game of the regular season, shutting out arguably the NHL's hottest team at the time.
The future for the Bruins however now brings more questions than ever and with the entire roster healthy, with the notable exception of veteran Kevan Miller, head coach Bruce Cassidy will have some tough calls to make in the coming weeks ahead of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cassidy will be playing with a full deck of cards, something unusual at this time of the year especially on a roster full of veteran players, but that means he is going to have to be extra careful when choosing which hand to play. Here are 3 tough choices facing the Bruins head coach ahead of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It would likely take a very poor performance from Bruins starter Tuukka Rask during the Bruins mini camp to see him lose his starting job, but its not out of the question. Bruins backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak was frankly outstanding for the Bruins this season and did so while shouldering a significant load for the team, appearing in 31 games over the regular season. Rask proved to be the better goalie over the span of an entire season but he does has a history of starting off slow, it will be interesting to see if that proves to be a factor in this new format.
#2 David Krejci.
The long time Bruins veteran will be Cassidy's anchor on the second line but there is a real question of who will play with him in the postseason. This time last year Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk would have been a shoe-in for the role but the young forward has slumped ever so slightly this season. The Bruins brought in two players ahead of the deadline in Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase and they could potentially fit in that role as well. The Bruins are going to need to maximize that second group in their top 6 if they are to compete with some of the deeper teams in the NHL.
#3 Bottom pairings on defense.
The Bruins defense will be healthy for the first time in quite some time coming into the postseason and that means that Cassidy is going to have to work out his pairings on the blue line. Guys like Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy and of course Zdeno Chara all have their places on the roster locked in but there will likely be some battles for the bottom pairings. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will be called upon but who his dancing partner will be remains to be seen. John Moore and Jeremy Lauzon seems like the two most likely candidates here, but who knows where Cassidy will go on this one after Cassidy has had a chance to evaluate his returning players during the Bruins mini camp.